Welcome to the Quality Matters: Evolving Standards for Online Courses fully-online workshop.

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1 Welcome to the Quality Matters: Evolving Standards for Online Courses fully-online workshop. 1

2 The purpose of this workshop is to provide instructors with the knowledge to recognize and employ the strategies published by Quality Matters (QM). 2

3 Upon completion of this workshop, instructors will be able to: Comprehend the origins and evolution of the Quality Matters organization, Evaluate the purpose and peer review process utilized for applying the QM Rubric standards, Review the eight general standards of the QM Rubric, Recognize key differences between RMU's quality standards and the QM rubric, and Identify and apply specific review standards to online courses. 3

4 This section of the workshop covers the origins of QM. The objective covered during this section will help you to comprehend the origins and evolution of the Quality Matters organization. 4

5 Quality Matters (QM) started as a FIPSE grant to MarylandOnline in The institution had started to look at inter-institutional quality assurance and course improvements in online learning. It created and implemented a process to certify the quality of online courses and components. In 2006 when the grant expired, QM was born and has become an industry leader in the field of quality assurance for online courses. Today, more than 850 colleges and universities subscribe to QM. RMU Online's curriculum and instructional designers are just two of more than 23,000 faculty and instructional design staff that have been trained by QM. 5

6 The following slides provide a description of the QM process. The objective that will be covered during this section will assist with evaluating the purpose and peer review process utilized for applying the QM Rubric standards. 6

7 QM is first and foremost a set of standards for the design of online and blended courses. It has nothing to do with the delivery, or teaching, of the course. The QM organization provides a peer review process that is used to review, improve, and certify online and blended courses. The process is completed by a team of three QMcertified peer reviewers, it s not a single person s viewpoint providing feedback on your course. When utilizing RMU Online instructional design staff for the development of your online courses, we can help ensure that your course not only meets the Quality Standards outlined in the Faculty Federation contract, but also meets other QM standards. As far as professional development, QM offers workshops, not only for QM certification, but courses focused on the entire course, individual sections of the course and specific QM standards, and workshops that focus on alignment. 7

8 QM is a faculty-driven, peer review process that is: Collaborative: QM was designed by and for faculty to share expertise and experience relative to the design of a course. Collegial: The course review process is a collegial discussion between faculty peers committed to Continuous quality improvement. It is not an evaluation. Lastly, it is Centered in national standards of best practice, the research literature, and instructional design principles designed to promote student learning. 8

9 QM is focused on the design of the course and it is not meant to resolve all quality assurance issues. For example, although reference is made in the Rubric Standards to technical support or student support services, QM is not designed to evaluate those aspects of quality assurance, rather QM strictly focuses on course design. The focus is on a peer-to-peer feedback process that can be used by faculty to continually improve their courses and can obtain QM certification for their courses and for themselves in being a certified peer or master reviewer. Lastly, QM is not the answer to improving and providing quality online instruction, but it is a critical component to making sure that students get the highest quality online courses. 9

10 It s very important to compare what QM is and is not: QM is not about the instructor, it s about course design. QM is not about faculty evaluation, it s about course quality. QM is not about judgment, it s about diagnosis and improvement. And lastly, QM is not about pass or fail, it s about continuous improvement within a supportive environment. 10

11 The following slides and interactions provide details about the eight general standards and the 43 specific review criteria. The objectives that will be covered during this section will provide a review of the eight general standards of the QM Rubric and enable you to identify and apply specific review standards to your online course or courses. 11

12 The QM rubric is made up of eight general standards. Within those eight general standards, there are 43 specific review criteria. Of those 43 specific review criteria, 21 are essential, meaning that your course cannot obtain QM certification without meeting each of the 21 essential standards, regardless of the overall score. The full rubric contains detailed annotations and examples of good practice for all 43 specific review criteria. 12

13 The eight general standards are: Course Overview and Introduction, Learning Objectives, Assessment and Measurement, Instructional Materials, Course Activities and Learner Interaction, Course Technology, Learner Support, and Accessibility and Usability The following interactions present each general standard in detail. 13

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15 Before we move on to discuss Standards 2, 3, 4, and 5 we need to define the concept of alignment as it relates to QM. Alignment refers to the direct link between the learning objectives and the instructional materials, learning activities, and assessments utilized in an online course. Under this principle, these three aspects of an online course are driven by and support the course learning objectives. 15

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23 This section of the workshop covers the RMU minimum quality standards as outlined in Appendix G of the Faculty Federation contract. The objective covered during this section will help you recognize key differences between RMU's quality standards and the QM rubric. 23

24 The QM rubric can be overwhelming when you first see it and all of the standards that it seeks to uphold for online courses. In order to maintain quality standards at RMU, a list of minimum quality standards have been implemented as part of the Faculty Federation contract. These quality standards were created based on the QM rubric, the Sloan-C Quality Scorecard, and other MSCHE-endorsed Distance Education Programs. The first quality standard consists of 8 sub-standards. The first standard asks to utilize a standard shell, which is provided with every course and used when you work with RMU Online Instructional Design. Within that organizational structure, instructors must provide: A course introduction, An instructor profile, and A course syllabus 24

25 The first standard also states that instructors must provide: Access to standard resource information, which is included with the RMU standard shell, A link to the Announcements page, Discussions to aid in student-student interaction & instructor-student interaction, A content outline each week, and Standard online program content, including access to grades, , and technical assistance The second quality standard states that student instructions, rubrics, and other support materials provide reasonable evidence that the course meets PDE requirements for instructional time. 25

26 The third standard looks at instructor-student engagement. This engagement must be outside of routine grading and feedback. The fourth standard states that the course must be ADA compliant. All video and audio must be closed captioned or have an associated script. All narrated presentations must have a script that disabled students can use. The fifth standard states that instructional materials must be comprehensive to the degree that they support the achievement of the course learning objectives. It also discusses the types of multimedia that are considered appropriate. The sixth and final standard states that your assessment strategies are designed to evaluate student progress in a manner consistent with the course learning objectives. 26

27 As you saw, the RMU Quality Standards are a little different than what you learned during this workshop regarding the QM standards. RMU's standards: Focus on alignment, but not as heavily as QM standards 2, 3, 4, & 5, Focus solely on ADA, not much on usability and accessibility as noted in QM Standard 8, and QM Standards 1 and 7 are almost entirely met when utilizing the RMU Online standard shell 27

28 The references used to develop this workshop both come from the Quality Matters organization, which is maintained by MarylandOnline. When you are finished reviewing the references, click the Next button. 28

29 Congratulations! You have successfully completed the Quality Matters: Evolving Standards for Online Courses workshop. You should now be able to: Comprehend the origins and evolution of the Quality Matters organization, Evaluate the purpose and peer review process utilized for applying the QM Rubric standards, Review the eight general standards of the QM Rubric, Recognize key differences between RMU's quality standards and the QM rubric, and Identify and apply specific review standards to online courses. 29

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This guide provides the notes that accompany the QM Overview power point presentation.

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